In the same vein, young academics and researchers should understand that politics is about providing solutions to public policy issues that affect people in specific localities or communities. Ideally, skilled or experienced people with the knowhow to proffer practical solutions to practical problems are academics, researchers and entrepreneurs or business people.
The so-called technocrats who have recently joined government should appreciate that there are no technocrats in cabinet, the central committee or the politburo. There are no technocrats in politics. Only the civil service has technocrats, not cabinet. Everyone in cabinet is a politician, the rule book of cabinet is political. Specifically, the claim that the likes of Mthuli Ncube and Kirsty Coventry are technocrats is nonsense. They may have been that yesterday, but today they are politicians just like the rest of their colleagues. And their success or failure will depend on how they perform as politicians, not as technocrats.
Besides, politicians in Zimbabwe who join politics as technocrats should know that established political parties cannot stand intellectuals or entrepreneurs.Anyone believed to be knowledgeable or with useable information is considered very dangerous. Technocrats typically work hard over long hours in their offices.This is a no, no in party politics. If you do that, you invite claims that you are ambitious and must be closely observed to be kept in check and stopped dead in your tracks.
Based on my personal experience, I do not recommend that young people in academia and research should entertain ideas of transitioning into party politics. One of the major deficits of public discourse in Zimbabwe is the absence of researched and independent opinions and solutions from academia. The last 20 or so years have seen political noise from partisan academics while most academics have remained silent under the false presumption that the political arena is not theirs but for politicians. That’s wrong. Politics is for everyone. Party politics is but one form of politics, and not necessarily the best form. I would urge young academics and researchers to be vocal and to participate in public debates as academics and researchers not only to provide practical solutions to practical problems but also to keep partisan politicians in check.
BSR: Finally, do you think there will be another coup in Zimbabwe? Why?
ANSWER: The possibility of another military coup in Zimbabwe is a real, clear and present Sword of Damocles that has been menacingly hanging over the country since November 2017. This is because coups invariably beget one another. Zimbabwe will remain in a coup zone until the 2017 coup is cured. The fact that those who led the coup are in power means that there are no prospects of curing the coup in the current scheme of things. The only path to any change in Zimbabwe today is via a military coup or a military-assisted transition.
It is unfortunate, and a very serious indictment of the country’s state politics, that 38 years after independence and five years after adopting a people-driven democratic Constitution Zimbabwe is a military state as a direct result of a military coup.To cure this outside a military coup would require a thorough-going and radical realignment of the balance of forces led by visionary, brave and courageous new generational leaders.Any other proposition is non-starter.
I am encouraged by the fact that there is a visible clash of generations in the country. I see the emergence of a younger generation, which is in the majority and which is also well represented in the military, that is dead set against military rule and its politics of entitlement. The values of Zimbabwe’s new millennials, whom I have described as Generation 40, are antithetical to the values of the nationalist old guard behind the November 2017 coup. The old guard in Zimbabwe is anti-modern, tribal, uneducated, anti-progress, irrational and driven by primitive beliefs such as witchcraft and the like. While it is an issue today, military rule has no future in Zimbabwe. Those who are staking their political careers and business fortunes on military rule in the country are banking on quicksand.